G'day, T&C!

It's been a long time since I've posted any large-scale compositions here, or really, any at all. For the past two months I've been in another (hopefully temporary) phase of being overly-critical of my work, which has resulted in me being significantly less productive than usual.

With that said, I've dug up a short section of a piece a few friends from University and I were planning on working on collaboratively for a musical theater production, which I'd be very thankful to receive constructive criticism on. Although our respective academic and work-force obligations obstructed this project in only a matter of days, I still want to develop this piece for my own practice and benefit, so any insight as to how the work could develop would be fantastic.

My biggest direct question to anybody who listens is ''What sort of mental image does this piece conjure up for you?''. I realise that the piece's title alludes to a particular subject matter or scene by default, but a description of what you personally interpret would be of a great help. Of course, critiquing the compositional devices and orchestration is pretty important, too!

Thanks in advance for listening, and if you'd like me to critique piece of yours, please leave a link in your reply. If you'd rather an I.O.U for a later-published piece of yours, please e-mail me at the address noted on my UG Profile - PMs don't work well for me.
As always, I'll put in as much effort into my reply as you do for mine. This doesn't apply strictly to the word count, but the quality of detail and commitment in your post; a short but thorough reply will likely be returned by a long and detailed reply by me, while a reply of a few, impersonal or non-specific words (''that was cool'', ''this was too clunky'' and so on) probably won't receive a critique at all. I don't intend to come off as rude or unappreciative, but I don't think the latter sort of critiques really help anybody, at all.

Transylvania, UG-Ready.gp4
Transylvania, UG-Ready.gp5
Transylvania, UG-Ready.mid
Last edited by juckfush at Dec 1, 2011,
It has been an awfully long time since I've done this. Anyway, here's what came to mind:

Bars (1-10): Nice happy mood (Is it a celebration of some sort?). Not quite what I would consider an Overture but definitely the opening piece (I did sound for a local production of Wizard of Oz in addition to studying stage music in Music this year so I'll recall the knowledge I acquired from that). One thing I appreciate (More like the pianist though) is the use of separate staves for the Piano. UG users could learn a lot from your notation. My next query is do you think the piece would benefit from some auxillary percussion? I think a guiro, castinets or careful placements of a slapstick might really make this piece come to life. Some sort of quirky percussion anyway.
Bars (11-18): I don't think the additions to the kit are loud enough. Not for my speakers anyway. I love the Bmaj chord on the 4th off beat of bar 13. Keeps the piece alive IMO.
Bars (19-26): I think bar 22 signifies a build up to a chorus of some sort. I guess this conjures images of a party and everyone has arrived by this time. Maybe you could keep the first one (If this is the chorus) instrumental and then have harmonised vocals for the next time.
Bars (27-29): Not much to say here but the percussion seems a bit abrupt in its own transition. I think the next section should be similar (Rhythmically) to some Baroque/Classical minor sections for Concert Band/Symphony Orchestra (I.E straight 8th notes all staccato). This could be a motif of a villain in the family but he isn't quite fully recognised as one. I think if the piece is varied in such a way that it will make the next swing section/reprisal much more powerful/emotionally effective when it returns.

One thing that carried throughout the piece was the rhythm. I thought the rhythm was impeccable, just enough variation between each section... So keep that up. I look forward to future pieces you compose. Let me know if you get another one up.

Also, I'll let you know when I have another piece up. I'm currently working on four of the craziest and most technically challenging pieces I've written yet. 7 string sweeps and polytonality everywhere.

Edit: https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1500713 C4C?

New percussion sounds fantastic. Bar 27 is still too quiet. Just raise that a tad and it will be phenomenal.
Last edited by HaydenHohns at Dec 2, 2011,
I'm not sure about the new percussion, I'm 'fraid. Like loads of later tweaks to music, it sounds great isolated, but in the context of the whole piece seems a bit off. I agree that section might have needed some more percussion, and it's hard to put my finger on why I don't like it - I think it sounds too frenzied, underneath a section that's otherwise moving at its own, much simpler pace.

Maybe it's just because I've come to think of midi percussion as metal drums, and this would sound good played more softly. Or maybe it'd sound better played on quirky-sounding, smaller, more staccato percussion - castanets and guiros and maracas and whatnot. I think it's the big sustaining ringing cymbals that I don't like.

That's just for the stuff around bars 14-19, btw. The frenzied percussion matches bar 22 onwards much better, IMO. AND otherwise I love everything.

As for imagery, it makes me think of a Scandinavian or Icelandic town, with green-rooved pointy huts in front of an icy mountain. Cartoon people are assembling under the huts and talking. It seems like the beginning of a film - the scene is being set, some minor dramatic thing might be happening in bar 23 but ultimately all is wel, like in the titlel.

It makes me think of a silent film for some reason, I keep imagining cards with dialogue written on them. It might be because the call-and-response-ish motif in bars 17/18 implies dialogue to me, and the music doesn't drop away to make room for speech. Or maybe just that the jaunty, almost ragtime-like style reminds me of the music from Charlie Chaplin films. This paragraph contains no useful information.

And musically I love it, as always. I love the playful use of different instruments and techniques, and the phrasing of the melodies. And I love the way the clarinet melody surges up.

As for what could come next, Bar 26 resolves everything before it nicely by going back to that motif, making everything so far seem self contained. I hate when that happens, I never know where to go next. I guess my instinct would be to repeat the piano and mandolin parts from bar 19, since that's what originally came after the motif I've incorrectly decided to call the call-and-response-ish motif, but transpose it into a different chord, maybe a nice slightly dissonant jazzy one, so as to sound familiar but cleverly avoid just repeating that bit forever, and build some slight tension.

No idea whether that's helpful. If nothing else, bump.
Last edited by whalepudding at Dec 6, 2011,
I haven't even listened to it but I'm gonna say this in advance, that blew my ****ing mind.
I'll actually write something after I've listened. Be right back....
Actually by your standards that was a bit of a tame affair by your usual standards but it still blew my mind, even if it was a bit less than I thought it might.
Basically I have nothing helpful to say and this was a waste of a post, I apologise.
My songs are all located here .
Feel free to drop by and crit a song.
Leave a link and I'll return a crit